It’s no secret that Google’s wearable platform has been stagnant over the years. Wear OS users are lucky to get one or two quality of life updates a year, but hopefully, with the upcoming merger with Tizen, we’ll see the platform truly take a leap forward in features and usability.
However, while we wait for the revolutionary new platform upgrade, Google is releasing some much-needed improvements for installing apps on your smartwatch in the coming weeks.
For starters, you’ll soon be able to search for watch apps using the Play Store on your phone by adding the terms “watch” or “watch faces” to your query. Browsing for watch apps on your phone will also get easier with new curated sections for Wear OS and Watch Faces for Wear OS category pages featuring recommended popular apps for your smartwatch.
Even better, you’ll also have the option to use the Play Store on your phone to install the apps on your watch. Because what good would browsing watch apps on your phone be if you couldn’t install them from there?
Installing apps that have both a phone and watch app will be easy thanks to a drop down menu housed in the “Install” button on the Play Store listing. Tapping on the arrow icon will expand the menu and allow you to choose which device you want to install it on.
Along with making apps easier to install when using your phone, Google is also giving the Play Store on your watch a visual refresh. The new layout is based on Material You and features larger cards to help with navigating on a smaller display.
Additionally, when you make an in-app purchase on the watch the Play Store will now open the purchase page on your smartphone or provide a URL to open up in a browser to complete the purchase.
Google says the new update will begin rolling out over the coming weeks to smartwatches running Wear OS 2.x and above. However, there have already been reports of many users receiving the new Play Store redesign on their watches over the past week. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those lucky few but it’s nice to know that it will be coming soon.